VMware's vCloud Air to launch database DRaaS, pipe in more clouds

'Thousands' of customers now and plans to repeat Google deal to win more

Exclusive VMware will add database-backup-as-a-service to its vCloud Air cloud in June, the company's veep and general manager of hybrid cloud Bill Fathers has told The Register.

The service will be based on technology VMware acquired last year along with Continuent, a provider of clustering, replication and disaster recovery services for databases. The new services, due to launch in June, will mean it becomes possible to replicate databases into vCloud air, sync them, and move operations into the VMware cloud as a disaster recovery option should that become necessary.

In a chat with El Reg, Fathers said the new service will offer the chance to “slice and dice databases by the second” for very granular recovery, and added that the new service is typical of the kind of feature he hopes to add to vCloud Air, in that it makes it easier for VMware users to adopt hybrid cloud.

VMware will OEM such services when appropriate and acquire at other times. But acquisition looks like the more likely way to add features VMware can't or doesn't want to build itself: Fathers said he had no objections to partnering with backup vendors to build this new service, but those considered told VMware they're focussed on on-premises sales.

That focus, Fathers said, makes cloud-native vendors more attractive targets or partners, because they're more attuned to hybrid cloud use cases.

But partnering remains a big part of Fathers' and vCloud Air's future. Fathers said the Vmware/Google deal – whereby VMware customers can access some Google cloud services through their vCloud Air account – will likely be repeated: in 18 months, VMware will have four or five similar such arrangements, he expects.

Also in 18 months, Fathers said, vCloud Air will have around 100,000 customers, up from the current “thousands”. Winning more customers will come down to increased interest in hybrid cloud, but also the addition of the NSX network virtualisation product to vCloud Air. “It is not that hard to run a cloud,” Fathers said. “The hard part is flows between on-premises databases and cloud,” as getting all of a database's dependencies and connections mapped to a cloudy counterpart is not simple. NSX will therefore make it possible for would-be users to consider hybrid clouds for live workloads.

“We'll be seen as the default for mainstream vSphere use cases,” he said. And in some cases, he hopes the service will be a candidate for data centre replacements, especially for multinational companies looking to consolidate data centres. ®

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